Short term rental debate continues

— Planning Board member Irv Povlow summed up the challenges in allowing frequent resort rental dwellings in residential neighborhoods on Marco at the Planning Board meeting Friday.

“This Island is severely divided between real estate people needing to make money in a challenging market and people living year in and year out wanting peace and quiet in the neighborhood,” Povlow said.

The Planning Board reviewed a new discussion draft for an ordinance to allow and regulate resort rentals in residential neighborhoods. The short-term rentals are defined as those which rent as frequently as once in a week up to six months.

Kelly Linmann who owns rental properties on Island said he doesn’t think six month rentals are short-term. He said the problem properties reported on Island as repeatedly violating noise, trash and parking codes are those renting for one or two weeks. He added 30 days or less should be defined as short term.

Code Enforcement Officers Eric Wardle and Liz Carr nodded in agreement.

Whether to include condominiums in the regulations returned for another round of debate Friday.

Fire Chief Mike Murphy and planning board members Vince Magee, Brian Moss and Povlow thought condos should be included for safety reasons, fairness to all property types and payment of income taxes. The idea lost steam with a 4-3 vote in favor of not including condos in the pending ordinance.

While bed taxes were another economic reason for including condominiums, retired Finance Director Bill Harrison said Tuesday that bed taxes cannot be levied by the city on such properties.

Ken Honecker, a neighbor to a nuisance rental, said strict enforcement of current state laws against nuisance properties, whether renter or owner-occupied, could solve the problem.

Honecker said he opposed permitted use and favored conditional use permits for short term rentals because conditional use allows more flexibility by City Council to tweak the regulations in the future.

Wardle agreed saying conditional use also gave him the tool he needed by allowing revocation of the permit.

Fines and registration fees will be reviewed at a future meeting and Wardle said he hopes calculation of them will be based on covering actual city costs.

The issue will be under review again tentatively scheduled 9 a.m. Friday, May 15 in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. The most recent discussion draft, dated March 27, is available in the left sidebar above.

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Comments » 3

playballonK writes:

This is all about six or seven people who don't have the ball% to take matters into their own hands, instead they screw with the livelyhood of hundreds of people.

gkpritchard writes:

The island is severely divided on this issue? I think it would be more accurate to say this issue is severely distorted. The control-freaks who want to run short-term rentals as only they know how, are now fully involved. With all the additional costs and fees, inspections, and the potential for bureaucratic abuse, who will want to vacation on the Republic of Marco Island? Short term rentals don't cause problems. Its the people in them who cause the problems. There are laws in place; use them to go after the problem rentors, and leave everyone else alone.

ChuckKiester writes:

For those of you who did not attend any of the meetings of the rental housing committee, all of which were held at 7 p.m., let me pass on one of its most critical findings. Current laws are insufficient to deal with weekend rentals by simply giving tickets to renters who will be gone the next day. Thus, it was quickly decided that the only way to control unruly renters was to make the rentors responsible for their renter's actions. One last note, the majority of the housing committee members was real estate agents who voted unanimously in favor of establishing an ordinance which would hold rentors responsible for the inappropriate behavior of their renters. So, if the rentors wish to rent their properties to those who wish to replay "Animal House" on a regular basis (given the money received from 20 plus or minus weekend renters), then the owners must be held accountable. Chuck Kiester

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